Last week, early in the morning on January 13th, Bruce Haugan died in his home in Park Rapids.
It was a sudden and unexpected death. It’s been difficult to see him go, to not have been there, but we remember the good times too. How he was always excited to have family come up to visit in the summer. We have great memories of him at the family cabin on Lake Big Sand, how he loved taking family out in the boat, sometimes to fish, but also to drive around, enjoy the weather and the view. He was a very gentle person, very quiet and happy to see everyone. He never had anything negative to say about others. Whenever the opportunity arose, he enjoyed fixing things, whether it be cars or boats or items around the house. Many a day you'd find him reading the paper and playing crosswords, at night visiting friends at the Legion. Fewer people knew this, but he was a fantastic skier and loved reading, especially fantasy and science fiction novels.
Bruce was part of the Park Rapids community. He grew up in Park Rapids with his mom Wanetea and his dad doctor Norm Haugan and went to school there for many years with his brothers and sister Paul Haugan, Jon Haugan, Kristin Haugan, and Eric Haugan. He lived in many different places: in Florida with his brother Paul helping get the business off the ground, in Northfield at Saint Olaf where he went to college, met my mom Nancy Vaiden, then in the Twin Cities where he married her, had two daughters, Ingrid and Rhya. He stayed there for many years as we grew up, until several years after he divorced, he returned to Park Rapids, a familiar home, in the early 2000s. He lived in Park Rapids ever since. He much preferred the outdoors and said he was glad not to live in such a large city.
Bruce was a chemist by trade but worked many jobs around the Twin Cities and Park Rapids, most notably as a chemist at a printing company in the Twin Cities and in quality control at RDO Potatoes in Park Rapids, although many people may remember him from other jobs around town. Again, he was quiet and very self contained. It could be difficult to get to know him but many people called him kind. Which isn’t to say he was a perfect person, nobody is and his quiet demeanor could make him distant, but he had many strong qualities worth remembering. Toward the end of his life, he got to meet his grandchildren Harrison, Tove and thoroughly enjoyed playing with them. He would have loved meeting Griffin too if he had lived long enough.
It's difficult to lose him so soon, but we hope he's comfortable now and happy. His memorial service is open to everyone and will be in Park Rapids at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home chapel on January 28th from 2 - 4 pm. He was loved and will be missed by many.